Despite Hillary’s Historic Nomination, Democrats Are Kind Of Freaking Out That Trump Will Beat Her

Hillary Clinton made history, but that may not be enough to get her to 270. Some Democrats are still worried that Donald Trump might win, given the level of volatility this election cycle, how Trump deflects media attacks like Teflon, and the high level of Democratic discontent within their own ranks over Clinton’s nomination. Those feelings were intensified when leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee showed staffers trying to find ways to derail Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign. The amount of booing, even during Clinton’s acceptance speech Thursday night just highlighted those divisions within the Democratic Party (via The Hill):

While the Electoral College may give her an advantage, party leaders and strategists say they remain concerned that Clinton is a tough sell when a majority of Americans think the country is on the wrong track and want to shake up Washington.

“The most important thing is there is a bias for change and there’s an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll where people express that bias even when they don’t know what the change is going to be,” said Geoff Garin, a pollster who worked for Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and now advises Priorities USA, a pro-Clinton super PAC.

That July survey showed a majority of voters, 56 percent, prefer someone who will bring major changes to government even if they don’t know what those changes will be. Only 46 percent wanted a candidate who would bring a steady approach to government.

It helps explain Trump’s success, and the strong challenge to Clinton in the Democratic primary from Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Away from the hoopla of the Wells Fargo, Democratic officials and strategists say it’s a major concern.

[…]

“I feel like we shouldn’t be overly optimistic,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). “Time and time again over this last year we thought Trump was done and he’s not so let’s treat him as an incredibly viable, capable opponent.”

The biggest uncertainty hanging over the election is who will show up to the polls on Nov. 8.

One Democratic strategist said Clinton will win if the Obama coalition of young and minority voters show up in force.

“If it’s the same as 2008 and 2012 we win,” the source said. “If it’s 2004, it’s a different story.”

Over at FiveThirtyEight, Clinton’s chances for winning the presidency dropped over 20 points in the past two weeks. In fact, if the election were held today, Trump would be the next president. Even in the forecasts where historic and economic data is factored in, Clinton’s chances had fallen by 15 points between July 12 and 25, a drop from 73 percent to 59 percent. It’s now 61, so it’s a 12-point dip…in a little over two weeks.

Democratic pollsters are also worried about the phantom white man vote. The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard talked to Celinda Lake, who worries that voters are deliberately misleading pollsters on Clinton and will vote for Trump in the general. So, there’s a guerilla warfare element to this as well.

"I worry that there is a bit of a secret Trump vote," said influential pollster Celinda Lake.

[…]

"The pattern is in the online surveys, even if you control for demographics, Trump does three to nine points better than in telephone surveys. So it really does suggest that there is a secret vote for Donald Trump," said Lake.

[…]

She also said that the white male, blue collar worker is a ripe target for Trump. "Trump can also mobilize some voters, some white downscale voters who also haven't voted for awhile," she said.

It also doesn’t help that Trump and the Republican National Convention got better ratings on their final night of the convention than the Democrats. Katie wrote that even former Obama adviser David Axelrod thought Clinton’s acceptance speech was not very good. These are both very flawed, and very polarizing candidates. Yet, Trump is trusted more than Clinton, though that’s not to say his numbers in this character test are great—they’re not. But he is seen as more honest than her. When the State Department Inspector General released his report about Clinton’s email system—and how she never sought approval (among other things), despite her claims to the contrary—Trump was viewed as more honest by a two-to-one margin.

There’s also the change factor mentioned in The Hill piece. In key battleground states, most voters see Trump as the main guy who could shake things up in Washington, though that hasn’t been translated into firm definite support for the billionaire. If that moves, there’s definitely going to be a surge in support for Trump, which could spell trouble for Clinton. Right now, the Democratic Party has the grapple with a fractured party, a weak candidate, and a series of hacks into their party apparatus that continues to trip them up—and air dirty laundry in the process. It’s very possible Clinton could lose—and for love of God I hope she does.

Mark Cuban Endorses Hillary, Calls Trump a 'Jag-off'

"Shark Tank" billionaire businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban had been on the fence in the 2016 presidential election. He had been open to accepting a vice presidential offer from either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, yet had not endorsed either candidate - until today. At a rally in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Saturday, Cuban officially threw his support behind the Democratic nominee.

That wasn't all. Cuban also apparently called Trump a "jag-off" in his remarks.

Before he threw out this insult, Cuban questioned Trump's business record and insisted the GOP nominee be more transparent.

Journalist: If Trump Doesn't Release His Taxes, Media Should Stop Interviewing Him

Well, it seems as if National Journal’s Ron Fournier has had it with Trump’s tax return fiasco. Fournier, who also writes for The Atlantic, said that if the billionaire refuses to release his tax returns, then the news networks should refuse giving him airtime:

The media is nothing if it can’t hold a presidential candidates accountable—if newsrooms and editorialists can’t force a White House aspirant to keep a promise, uphold precedent, and address suspicions that he’s a tool of Moscow.

Journalism is a joke if we let Donald Trump slide.

And so I have an idea for CNN, MSNBC, FOX News and the three broadcast networks:

Stop interviewing Trump, and stop paying his surrogates, until he releases his tax records.

Now, to be fair, Fournier has criticizes both presidential candidates, Clinton especially for her email fiasco. Yet, is Trump one to back down? I’m not so sure that media colluding to refuse to coverage of a major presidential candidate is going to be a successful pitch to boardrooms. In fact, one could argue that if all of the networks continued to interview Trump about his tax returns, and applied pressure on that front through endless negative media coverage to that effect—it could have the same impact.

Either way, both angles could animate the Republican base, which always gets fired up over allegations of liberal media bias, or the mere appearance of it. Trump’s die-hard supporters, along with your run-of-the mill Republicans (who might agree that that their candidate should release those forms), could view this as bush league. He’s the Republican nominee; he should be covered in the news.

Moreover, Trump is a master of media. He’ll find a way to get his name mentioned one way or another. Whether that is utilizing Twitter, Facebook Live, Medium, or Periscope—the man will hire more folks that know social media, and saturate it to the point where networks would be remiss in not covering the story. When the House GOP shut off the cameras by calling a recess during the Democratic sit-in on the floor aimed at pressuring Speaker Ryan to hold a vote on gun control post-Orlando, C-Span simply used Facebook Live and Periscope to continue coverage. I’m sure Trump will be able to creep back into the news cycle if this were to happen, which is unlikely.

UPDATE: From the comments, RCA In NH noted the lack of Clinton press conferences, which Guy wrote in June, that it's been a half a year since Hillary held such a media event. Cortney wrote about Clinton campaign manager laughed off questions about when the former secretary of state will hold her next one during the Democratic National Convention. Could be a nice counterpunch to this unlikely media suggestion regarding Trump's tax returns. If you don't want to interview me over this tax thing, you shouldn't grant Hillary either for being evasive with the press conferences.

ICYMI: Trump Is Reportedly Plotting Revenge Against Ted Cruz And John Kasich

It’s a bit of older news, though something not entirely out of the ordinary coming from Donald Trump. After the conclusion of the Republican National Convention, he’s reportedly going to bankroll super PACs to go after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and another “small person” who the billionaire refused to name (via Bloomberg):

Donald Trump plans to create and fund super-PACs specifically aimed at ending the political careers of Ted Cruz and John Kasich should either run for office again, after both snubbed the Republican nominee during his party's convention this week, a person familiar with Trump’s thinking told Bloomberg Politics on Friday.

Donald Trump confirmed his plans during an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press" broadcast on Sunday, saying "I'll probably do a super-PAC, you know, when they run - against Kasich for $10 million, to $20 million against Ted Cruz."

Trump added that there may be "one other person that [he's] thinking about" starting an outside group against, but that unnamed individual is "such a small person" that he "hates to give him the publicity."

Former nomination rival Jeb Bush is apparently not the third person being eyed by Trump, even after skipping the convention and refusing to back the Republican nominee. On Friday Trump said he “does not care” about targeting Bush because the former Florida governor is already “destroyed.”

Is her referring to “little Marco”? I’m not so sure, given that Trump joined the McConnell’s incessant campaign, which in the end turned out to be successful, in coaxing the former presidential candidate to run for re-election for his Florida senate seat that boosted the GOP chances to retaining the Senate. Could it be Rand Paul? Carly Fiorina? How about Lindsey Graham? There are a multitude of candidates that I’m sure drove Trump’s blood pressure to rise over remarks about him and his business record, among other things. Yet, is this the time to even think about settling old scores?

After all, I would think he would take sober satisfaction in the fact that he handily beat both candidates in the primaries. He’s the nominee. It’s over. Now, can we focus on Clinton, who will have a mean fighting machine waiting to take him on in the general? As Mark Schnur, former communications director for the McCain campaign, wrote in The Wall Street Journal, the campaign isn’t like the primaries anymore:

But Donald Trump is no longer running in a Republican primary, where the winner is the candidate who can say the meanest things about Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Reaching out to new voters will require a new approach, and without that new approach, Mr. Trump’s uphill fight for the presidency becomes even more improbable.

There’s no doubt that Trump will do outreach efforts. He’s already doing them with Bernie supporters over trade. But these instances where he casually tells the media that he’s out for blood probably isn’t the best idea while he's doing this. Regardless, he’s a different candidate, he’s a master of nabbing media attention, and he will certainly not shift his strategy of tearing down his opponents during the debates. After all, it worked wonders for him in the primaries, but we shall see if it could yield a boost in the polls against Hillary. 

Romney: Yeah, Trump Could Win This Election

Trump can win. There seems to be a growing consensus that the billionaire who often goes off the cuff can win this election. From President Obama, who said on the "Today" show that “anything is possible,” to…Mitt Romney? Romney has been a high-profile member of the Never Trump crowd, and one of his harshest critics; he said that Trump could bring about “trickle down racism.” Yet, the former 2012 candidate and Massachusetts governor (who got Trump's endorsement in 2012) said that it wouldn’t be a landslide (via Buzzfeed):

Romney was speaking with Republican consultant Mike Murphy’s Radio Free GOP podcast released two weeks ago when he made the comments.

“You have to give Donald Trump credit, he was able to bring a rhetoric and a style that he had perfected over his career to the political sphere and connect with people and become the nominee,” Romney said. “Despite the fact that I and a lot of other people thought he would not be an ideal nominee, he is. At this stage, it’s rougher going, but I can’t predict what’s gonna happen.”

“To be honest, it’s very possible in my view that Trump wins,” continued Romney. “I wouldn’t think it’d be by a landslide, but I think he could win. I think he could lose, I think he could lose by a landslide. But, I don’t know which it’s going to be and a lot of that depends on what happens to Hillary Clinton. Is there a meltdown moment, or some implosion of some kind?”

On Monday, FiveThirtyEight had Trump beating Clinton in an Electoral College landslide if the election were held on July 25. After the Democratic Convention, Trump would still win if the election were held today—July 30—but just squeaking by Clinton 272/264. While Trump surely has his faults, more Americans think he’s honest. Clinton has been marred by scandal over her emails, which is a driving factor that’s killing her favorable and trustworthiness numbers with voters. On top of that, almost 30 percent of Bernie Sanders supporters could go third party is she isn’t successful reaching out to the coalition (i.e. young people). At the same time, the Trump camp seems to be playing this thing out as if this 2016 contest is an extension of the primaries. It’s not.

In terms of the Electoral College, the Democratic blue wall already nabs them at close to 240 of the 270 delegates needed to win. As with any election, turnout will be key, with the high-level of animosity aimed at both respective candidates from their party bases being a key factor in that effort. One thing the Trump does have on his side is the ability to change Washington. Whether you love him or hate him, more voters thinks he’s a person who can shake up D.C.—though those voters have not definitively crossed over into his camp. If they do, expect a surge for Trump that could land him in the White House. It’s an unpredictable year—but even some of Trump’s most brutal critics are saying he can win.

Trump Suggests Something Wasn’t Quite Right With the Khans’ DNC Speech

Many pundits agreed that the speech made by the Khans at the Democratic National Convention Thursday was the most powerful moment of the past two weeks. In his remarks, Khizr Khan, a Muslim man whose son Humayun died defending our country in the U.S. Army, challenged Donald Trump on his proposed plan to enforce a temporary ban on Muslims.

"Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery?" Khan asked Trump. "Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one."

Khan also asked Trump if he’s ever read the Constitution, at which point he reached into his pocket, held up his own copy and told the GOP nominee he could borrow if it if he wanted. The crowd erupted.

On ABC Saturday morning, Trump reacted to the Khans in an interview with George Stephanopoulos – and once again, he’s stirred controversy.

"If you look at his wife, she was standing there," he said, on national television. "She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me."

Trump added that he has made sacrifices, noting he's “created thousands of jobs” and “built great structures.”

“I think I've done a lot,” he said.

Wasserman Schultz's Challenger for House Seat Gets Big Boost From DNC Scandals

Now-former Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz didn't only damage her committee's image by organizing a primary process that all but disenfranchised Bernie Sanders voters - it also damaged her own political career. 

The Florida congresswoman faces a tough reelection campaign this November in the form of challenger Tim Canova - especially after the Wikileaks DNC email hack. Canova has taken advantage of Wasserman Schultz's scandals to prove she is too establishment and doesn't deserve two more years representing the constituents of Florida's 23rd district. He has insisted he would be a better champion for progressive causes.

This week, Canova is crediting Wasserman Schultz with a major fundraising bump.

Canova said he raised $125,000 on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Wasserman Schultz announced her resignation on Sunday. On Monday afternoon, she said she wouldn't gavel the convention to order and wouldn't be speaking at the quadrennial event.

"That's a lot for two days. And it was certainly a kick from what had happened to Debbie," Canova said.

If Wasserman Schultz loses her reelection bid, but Hillary Clinton wins the White House, she will still have a job. Clinton asked Wasserman Schultz to join her presidential campaign right after she announced her resignation from the DNC.

More Viewers Tuned In to Watch Trump's Speech Than Clinton's

Donald Trump now has one victory against Hillary Clinton under his belt in the race for the White House. His acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention had higher TV ratings than Clinton’s at the Democratic National Convention, according to preliminary results.

Last Thursday at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, 34.9 million people watched the Republican nominee across broadcast and cable networks.

This Thursday in Philadelphia, 33.3. million viewers saw Hillary Clinton give her historic speech as the first woman nominated for president by a major party, according to preliminary results.

As a whole, however, the DNC pulled in higher ratings than the RNC, forcing Trump to back down from claims he made ahead of the Democratic nominating convention that few would be watching.

Trump had boasted last week that "no one would watch" the Democratic National Convention and hailed the ratings of the Republican convention on Twitter. But after the Democrats beat the Republicans the first three nights in total viewers, Trump appeared to back away from his claim on the production of the GOP gathering last week.

"I didn’t produce the show — I just showed up for the final speech on Thursday,” he told The New York Times on Wednesday.

As far as ratings among broadcast and cable news networks, Fox News surpassed CNN, NBC, and MSNBC when it came to coverage for the eight nights of both conventions. 

100 Days to Go

We've reached the 100-day countdown in the unpredictable 2016 presidential election. The two major tickets are set and as of the past two weeks, GOP nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton have officially accepted their parties' nominations.

Clinton told supporters Friday in Philadelphia how she and Bill first realized it was nearing crunch time.

"Bill and I started drinking our coffee, looked at each other and realized as of tomorrow, we have 100 days to make our case to America," she said. "What better place than right here in Philadelphia where it started 240 years ago."

As for Trump, he is taking his campaign to Ohio, Nevada and Pennsylvania next week, telling voters that the revolutionary movement they've created will mean nothing if he doesn't win the White House. 

In nearly 60 days, Trump and Clinton will meet on stage for the first time at their first presidential debate.

Popcorn TV? You better believe it.

If you're following the other countdown clock, President Obama leaves the White House in 173 days.

Protests in Germany as Merkel Stands by Open Borders Decision

At one point in time last week, Germany was experiencing an Islamic terror attack every 72 hours.  Attacks of which authorities say have been carried out by asylum seekers or refugees inspired by Islam.

A suicide bomb attack in Ansbach on Sunday injured 15 people and an axe and knife attack on a train in Wuerzburg a week earlier that wounded five people were both carried out by Muslims from Syria and Afghanistan.

However, Chancellor Angela Merkel refuses to waiver from her plan to keep accept thousands from the Middle East.

"We decided to fulfill our humanitarian tasks," she told reporters at a news conference. "Refusing humanitarian support, that would be something I wouldn't want to do and I wouldn't recommend this to Germany."

She said the attackers "wanted to undermine our sense of community, our openness and our willingness to help people in need. We firmly reject this."

Meanwhile, thousands of natural-born Germans are expected to gather in the capital’s historic Washington Square for an anti-immigration rally where they will be addressed by right-wing politicians. 

Merkel has left the German people with two choices, either accept the Muslim refugees, or accept the Muslims refugees.  

Oh Boy: Now The Clinton Campaign Has Been Hacked

First it was the DNC, then the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and now the network that is utilized by the Clinton campaign has been hacked. Reuters is reporting the Department of Justice is investigating whether these breaches constitute a national security risk. They added that the hackers, whom U.S. officials determined are Russian, gained access to the entire DCCC network. That’s a treasure trove of campaign memos and opposition research:

The computer network used by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign was hacked as part of a broad cyber attack on Democratic political organizations, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The latest attack, which was disclosed to Reuters on Friday, follows reports of two other hacks on the Democratic National Committee and the party’s fundraising committee for candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives.

[…]

Hackers, whom U.S. intelligence officials have concluded were Russian, gained access to the entire network of the fundraising Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, of DCCC, said people familiar with the matter, detailing the extent of the breach to Reuters for the first time.

Access to the full DCCC network would have given the hackers access to everything from emails to strategy memos and opposition research prepared to support Democratic candidates in campaigns for the House.

Yet, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who spoke at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado this week, said that Americans needed to stop “the hyperventilation over this [DNC hack].” And that we still don’t have firm evidence that Russia’s government directed this cyber breach. Russia has denied the allegations that they were behind the hack, saying that they do not meddle in the elections of other nations. Yet, The Wall Street Journal added that Clapper described Putin as “paranoid,” who would view meddling in our elections as payback for our alleged involvement in their internal political affairs.

Regardless, we shouldn’t be shocked if Trump takes more heat for his remarks that Russia should hack into Clinton’s email to find the 30,000 or so correspondences she deleted for being of a personal nature…according to the former first lady. That act was deemed to be a violation of the Federal Records Act by the State Department Inspector General. Trump said his remarks about hoping that Russia hacks into Clinton’s email was done in a sarcastic demeanor.

Most of the Officers Charged by Marilyn Mosby Are Now Suing Her

Baltimore State Attorney General Marilyn Mosby's attempt to lock up the officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray has come up short. In a turn of events, she is now the one facing charges.

Last year, after an independent investigation by her office, Mosby announced she was seeking charges against Officers William Porter, Edward Nero, Garrett Miller, Caesar Goodson, Lt. Brian Rice, and Sgt. Alicia White for the death of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died in their custody in a police transport van. 

Following the acquittals of Nero, Goodson and Rice and the mistrial of Porter, Mosby announced last week she was dropping the remaining charges. Yet, she made it clear that justice was not served. In a press conference, she sounded more like a protester than a state attorney as she shouted that Gray was a victim of police brutality.

After all is said and done, the five of the six officers Mosby sought punishment for are returning the favor by filing a lawsuit against her, alleging she is guilty of defamation, false arrest, false imprisonment and more.

The complaint filed by Porter and White stated that Mosby "made statements for purposes of quelling the riots rather than prosecuting police officers who had committed a crime," and that Mosby "exceeded her authority" and "brought charges against police officers that were wholly unsupported by evidence and probable cause."

The officers, attorney Michael Glass claimed, were "humiliated" by Mosby. As such, she now has to play the role of defendant.

Russian Weightlifting Team Banned From Rio Olympics

Another Russian team won't be going to Rio due to the widespread doping scandal that is plaguing the country's sports teams. The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) announced on Friday that Russia's eight-member team would not be allowed to compete at the Rio Olympics.

The IWF said the ban was necessary to preserve the integrity of the sport.

"The integrity of the weightlifting sport has been seriously damaged on multiple times and levels by the Russians, therefore an appropriate sanction was applied in order to preserve the status of the sport," said a statement by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).

The IOC opted against a blanket ban of all Russian athletes, instead leaving the decision to the individual sport federations. The only sports that will face complete bans are the athletics (track and field) and weightlifting teams.

Russia is throwing the banned athletes an alternative event in Moscow.

PA GOP: Hey Hillary, The FBI Arrested Pro-ISIS Man A Few Blocks Away From Your Harrisburg Rally

The Pennsylvanian Republican Party was disconcerted with the lack of focus on terrorism at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Now, Hillary Clinton plans on holding a rally at Broad Street Market in Harrisburg, a few blocks from where a man with ISIS ties was arrested last December. Barbara Miller of PennLive reported that the PA GOP plans to hold a press conference on the matter at the party headquarters on State Street later this afternoon:

We believe Mr. Trump is tougher on fighting terrorism, while her career is littered with failed policies regarding terrorism," said Megan Sweeney, GOP spokeswoman.

Sweeney said the GOP isn't implying that the rally location is unsafe.

“The Clinton campaign has not put a major focus on terrorism, and this is something that affected Harrisburg recently," Sweeney said. "What we have seen is terrorism can strike anywhere. But yet the Clinton campaign and the DNC have largely been not discussing it."

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-York, will be at the Republican State Committee office at 5 p.m. with other GOP leaders to discuss these issues.

As Cortney noted, the first day of the DNC featured 61 speeches, none of which addressed the threat of ISIS. President Obama’s speech on Wednesday night mentioned ISIS twice; while Clinton barely touched on the threats we face from radical Islam in her address Thursday night. ISIS has struck Europe multiple times—and the continent is already on edge as they also try to deal with the growing Syrian refugee crisis.

Concerning Harrisburg, a man who was arrested for ISIS ties was 19-year-old Jalil Ibn Ameer Aziz, who used 57 different Twitter accounts to bolster his extremist activities. He referred to himself as Col. Shami. When the FBI raided his home, a tactical backpack, knife, high-capacity magazine with ammunition, along other materials the agency felt was being used for a planned attack of some sort were found. He was immediately charged on “two counts of attempting to provide material support to terrorists.”

Power Move: Brexit and Trump are Crushing Iran's Economy

Even after Barack Obama decided to lift financial sanctions on Iran in January, the Islamic country is still having a hard time participating in the global economy.  

Recent events around the world, such as Great Britain's vote to leave the European Union and the rise of Republican nominee Donald Trump, have crippled Western governments from sealing long term financial contracts with Iran.

"Iran will continue to work with small banks, institutions as long as major European banks are reluctant to return to Iran," a senior Iranian official said.

"Fear over Brexit's financial consequences have made Britain and other European countries more careful over their interaction with Iran. Most of them have adopted the policy of watch and see," another senior Iranian official told Reuters.

"The British banks and authorities have a very big problem to deal with and since the vote, they have been less eager about Iran and I can even say almost not interested. Of course, we believe we can still work with British banks and have told them so."

It seems as though Donald Trump and the American people are putting world banks on hold until the night of November 8 when we will all know our fate.  

With Trump's rise and the decision of the British to distance themselves from countries such as Iran who have fundamentally different values, it is no wonder why this election may be one of the most important of all time.  

Local Black Lives Matter Chapter...Endorses Ohio Republican Rob Portman?

Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman just got a rather interesting endorsement, showing the politics sometimes makes for strange bedfellows. A local Black Lives Matter chapter has endorsed Portman over his Democratic rival former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland because he ran the state into the ground (via Politico):

Black Lives Matter of Cuyahoga County is announcing Friday that they are backing the Ohio Republican in his Senate reelection bid, an extremely unusual and notable endorsement from a movement that has been more aligned with Democratic politicians.

The group harshly criticized Democratic challenger Ted Strickland’s management of the state’s finances when he was Ohio governor – saying he “managed to destroy Ohio’s budget and deplete its billion-dollar Rainy Day Fund.”

“In the current atmosphere of identity politics, BLMCC understands that endorsing even a well-qualified Republican such as Portman seems controversial; despite the fact that it was minorities who suffered the brunt of Ted Strickland’s gross financial mismanagement,” the organization’s president, Jeff Mixon, said in a statement Friday.

Portman and Strickland are in a tight race that’s a key one for Republican if they wish to maintain control of the Senate. At the beginning of the year, Strickland was leading Portman between three to six points, but as we’ve entered the summer—the polls have the incumbent Republican. Portman leads by an average of four on RealClearPolitics.


Appeals Court Strikes Down North Carolina Voter ID Law, Calls It 'Discriminatory'

Another blow has been dealt to the nation's voter ID laws. A week after an appeals court struck down Texas' voter ID law, the Tar Heel State has done the same thing. Voters will not be required to show photo identification when casting in-person ballots, because, the Fourth Circuit argued, it was racist to begin with.

"In holding that the legislature did not enact the challenged provisions with discriminatory intent, the court seems to have missed the forest in carefully surveying the many trees," the panel wrote in its opinion.

The opinion later states: "We cannot ignore the record evidence that, because of race, the legislature enacted one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history."

In 2013, the North Carolina General Assembly, which ABC News noted was conservative, enacted the voter law to the chagrin of the state NAACP and League of Women Voters. Both groups, along with the U.S. Department of Justice sued the state for allowing a law they say violated the Civil Rights Act and the Constitution.

One attorney on Twitter noticed a touch of hypocrisy with the Fourth District Court's decision.

San Diego Police Chief Says Second Officer Expected to Survive

San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman updated the press on Friday about the tragic shooting Thursday night that took the life of one of the police officers on her force.

This is a “heart wrenching” situation for officers to go through, Zimmerman said when she opened her remarks. An investigation is underway to seek to find answers to the “senseless murder.”

Fallen officer Jonathan DeGuzman was a 16-year veteran of the police department and a husband and father of two young kids. Sadly, his family is left to mourn.

Zimmerman did offer a bit of good news, however. Although the second officer, Wade Irwin, is still in serious condition, he is expected to survive the attempt on his life.

It is not clear yet, Zimmerman explained, whether this was a vehicle stop or a pedestrian stop. The investigation will determine those details “with certainty.” Nor does her team know whether this was yet another instance of a police ambush.

They do know that the suspect is a Hispanic male adult, currently in custody in critical condition. His identity will not be released until the investigation moves further along.

The investigation is likely to last the next several days, Zimmerman said.

Trump Responds to Hillary Saying He Can't Handle a Tough Election: I Just Beat 16 People and I'm Beating You

Now that each Party convention is over, the general election battle for the White House has officially begun. 

During her DNC convention speech last night in Philadelphia, where she officially accepted her Party's nomination for president, Hillary Clinton said Republican opponent Donald Trump can't handle the "rough-and-tumble" of an election. 

"Ask yourself, do you really think Donald Trump has the temperament to be commander in chief? Donald Trump can't even handle the rough-and-tumble of a presidential campaign," Clinton said.

On Friday morning, Trump responded to her comment with this: 

For this first time this week, Trump has topped Clinton is the Real Clear Politics polling average and is beating her in swing states:

After ISIS Attacks, French Govt. Considering A Ban of Foreign Financing of Mosques

After two horrific attacks by ISIS supporters in less than one month, France is considering banning foreign-financed mosques and requiring that all imams be trained in France.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told Le Monde in an interview that this ban would be "indefinite" and is part of the country's expanding counterterrorism efforts. France is also working on improving relations with Islam.

From The Guardian:

In an interview with French newspaper Le Monde, Valls said he was “open to the idea that – for a period yet to be determined – there should be no financing from abroad for the construction of mosques”.

The prime minister also called for imams to be “trained in France, not elsewhere”.

He said the interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, whose portfolio also includes religious affairs, was working on building a new model for France’s relations with Islam.

Interesting, and not entirely unprecedented. Norway has prohibited "countries that do not permit religious freedom" (namely, Saudi Arabia) from financing mosques in the country. Austria passed a similar law in 2015, and Italy is considering a ban as well.

Of course, France could also start by ending the absurd practice of allowing convicted terrorists unsupervised release periods.

Hillary Clinton Suggested Trump Couldn't Be Trusted With The Nuclear Codes, Did She Forget Bill Lost Them?

Hillary Clinton made history by being the first woman nominated by a major party for president of the United States. She delivered a speech that laid out a progressive vision for America’s future, along with assurances that she is the person who will bring certainty and resolve in our foreign policy, especially in the war on terror. It was a brief bit in her speech, but it was said nonetheless. The problem, of course, is that Clinton left our state secrets vulnerable to foreign actors through her private email system that wasn’t approved by the State Department.

Yet, let’s lay off on Hillary’s emails for a bit because she said something interesting last night about Trump. She said that we couldn’t have people near the nuclear codes if they’re easily baited by tweets. A helluva zinger until you find out that Bill lost the nuclear codes while he was president.

Towards the end of his presidency, “the biscuit,” the card containing the nuclear codes, went missing. There are two stories and maybe both are true. ABC News reported back in 2010, that former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Hugh Shelton, wrote a memoir, Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior, where he states that the codes were missing for months. Yet, there’s this other version that dates back to 1998 from a book written by retired Air Force Col. Robert Patterson:

Shelton claims the story has never been released before, but Ret. Air Force Lt. Col Robert Patterson told a very similar account in his own book, published seven years ago.

Patterson was one of the men who carried the football, and he says it was literally the morning after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke that he made a routine request of the president to present the card so that he could swap it out for an updated version.

"He thought he just placed them upstairs," Patterson recalled. "We called upstairs, we started a search around the White House for the codes, and he finally confessed that he in fact misplaced them. He couldn't recall when he had last seen them."

In Patterson's telling of the story, the President lost the biscuit in 1998, but according to Shelton, the card went missing in 2000.

CNN added that the codes were definitely missing by 2000 when it was time to replace the codes:

Once a month, Defense Department officials conduct an in-person verification to make sure the president has the right codes. At least twice in a row, Shelton writes, a White House aide told the Pentagon checker that the president was in a meeting but gave a verbal assurance that the codes were with him.

Then one month around 2000, according to Shelton, when the time came to replace the codes with a new set, "the president's aide said neither he nor the president had the codes -- they had completely disappeared."

Shelton writes that all this happened likely without Clinton's knowledge.

Yes, even if someone had found the old codes, no launches could be executed without the football. And maybe Clinton didn’t know about it—but this is…extremely careless, no? Usually the president’s aides are the ones who keep "the biscuit" within earshot of the commander-in-chief, so to lose it no only shows said carelessness but also incompetence. How do you lose a piece to one of the most destructive weapons in our arsenal? It’s almost as bad as the story involving former President Jimmy Carter, who sent the nuclear codes to the dry cleaners.

Marc Ambinder, then-contributing editor to The Atlantic, elaborated also in 2010, why losing "the biscuit" presents a total nightmare situation:

So what happens if the President doesn't have his identifier?

The commander in chief of NORAD resorts to the next person the NCA list, the Vice President.

This is a survival mechanism built in during the Cold War, in the event that Washington was decapitated without warning in a nuclear strike. NORAD continues down the list until it finds a capital P-Principle, who provides that identifier and assumes the duties of the Commander in Chief.

Sounds like no big deal, right?

Here's the reality: Losing that identifier card had the potential to create a vast disruption in nuclear command and control procedures.

So Al Gore gets "the call" because Clinton can't properly ID himself. Gore is confused, lives in Washington, knows the President is fine. He tells NORAD to hold while he tracks down the President, who can't verify his own identify anyway. Precious minutes (and I do mean precious, seconds count in the nuke business) are lost while civilian and military leadership sort things out.

And that says nothing of the fact that the President would be in gross violation of his duties by allowing the VP to execute an order that is lawfully the President's to make.

What a mess.

Granted, I’m sure Hillary supporters would shrug and say, “what difference does it make?” That’s precisely wrong—and another reason why the Clintons are a gruesome twosome. Moreover, it shows that Hillary has an appalling lack of self-awareness when she says that Donald Trump is too unstable to be trusted with the codes. Honey, your husband lost them…for months.

Hillary Clinton’s server was kept in her basement, which was an unsanctioned and unsecure location for the transference and collection of such sensitive data. She also said that no classified information was sent through her server—all of which was a lie. She also lied about seeking State Department approval for the system. If she had, officials at State said it would not have been approved.

FBI Director James Comey delivered all but an indictment against the former first lady, who torpedoed her entire narrative behind the server, but also noted that she and her staff were “extremely careless” in handling classified information. The point is that if Hillary Clinton can’t be trusted with keeping state secrets secure, why should we trust her with any foreign endeavor, especially with making sure “the biscuit” is secure? Your other half already lost it.

Ha: Russia Threw Its Banned Athletes Their Own Olympics

In a move reminiscent of the "Friendship Games" attended by Soviet Bloc and Eastern European countries boycotting the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Russia has thrown its banned athletes their own version of the Olympics: The Stars 2016 Tournament. Track and field contests are the majority of events taking place at Stars 2016, and the games will be held in Moscow.

The Stars 2016 Tournament will feature over 100 athletes, including multiple world and Olympic champions.

"About 135 track-and-field athletes are going to compete," Yuri Borzakovsky, the head coach of the Russian athletics squad, told TASS about Stars 2016. "They include Olympic champions and medal holders as well as less renowned athletes forbidden to compete in Rio.

"Pole Vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva will not compete," he added, referring to the two-time Olympic champion who launched a public campaign to have her ban lifted, only to be denied. Current world champion hurdler Sergey Shubenkov, as well as 2012 Olympic high jump champion Ivan Ukhov, and 2013 world champion silver medalist triple jumper Ekaterina Koneva are reportedly taking part.

While the majority of Russia's Olympic team escaped a blanket ban from competing in Rio, the track team remains prohibited from international competition amid allegations of a state-run doping ring. Only one Russian track and field athlete, long jumper Darya Klishina (who is based in the U.S. and was able to prove that she is not doping) will be allowed to compete in Rio, albeit as an independent athlete.

Video: Will Hillary's Overtures to Right-Leaning Voters Be Successful?

Following up on my post from last night, I appeared on Fox News this morning to discuss whether the DNC's obvious thematic attempt to reach out and appeal to to disaffected conservatives would prove successful. Color me...skeptical (via Right Sightings):

Concealed Carry Permits Reach All-Time High

There are over 14.5 million Americans that have a concealed carry permit. That’s an all-time high, according to John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center. It’s an increase of 1.73 million this year alone, breaking the previous record of 1.69 million last year. Overall, Lott says there’s been a 215 percent increase in concealed carry permits holders since 2007. 

Women and minorities mostly fuel the surge. In fact, Lott writes in the abstract of his paper that there’s “some evidence suggest[ing] that permit-holding is increasing about 75% more quickly among minorities than among whites.”

Lott also added that Florida, Pennsylvania, and Texas are states in which one million of their residents are CCW-permit holders. He adds that ten states have a permit holding demographic that constitutes about 10 percent of the respective population, with Indiana being the highest at 15 percent. And, in keeping with national trends, women obtaining permits has increased twice the rate of men between 2012 and 2016. Concerning crime, the CPRC says that between 2007 and 2015, the murder rate fell from 5.6 to 4.7 per 100,000—a 16 percent drop.

The real spike in CCW permits came during the Obama presidency, which also saw a massive spike in sales. Since Barack Obama has taken office, over 100 million firearms have been sold:

…during the eight years from 1999 to 2007, the number of permits increased by about 240,000 annually. During the next four years, the number of permits surged by 850,000 annually. Then, in 2012 and 2013, the yearly increase accelerated to 1,550,000. Then 1,690,000 last year and 1,730,000 this year.

The rapid increase in concealed carry permits is mirrored by a rapid increase in gun sales. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) checks soared from 11.2 to 23.1 million between 2007 and 2015. Sales in 2016 have grown at an even faster pace.

One thing that Lott does mention is that we have 11 states where permits are no longer required to carry a concealed firearm, so those who are exercising their Second Amendment rights this way could be much higher. In this regard, yes–thanks, Obama. 

Oh, and did I mentioned that CCW holders are insanely law-abiding, like the vast majority of America’s gun owners:

To get an idea of just how law-abiding concealed handgun permit holders are, we need only compare them to police. According to a study in Police Quarterly, police committed an average of 703 crimes per year from 2005 to 2007.8 113 of these involved firearms violations. This is likely to be an underestimate, since not all police crimes receive media coverage. The authors of the study may also have missed some media reports.

So how law-abiding are police? With about 685,464 full-time police officers in the U.S. from 2005 to 2007, we find that there were about 103 crimes per hundred thousand officers. For the U.S. population as a whole, the crime rate was 37 times higher -- 3,813 per hundred thousand people.

Perhaps police crimes are underreported due to leniency from fellow officers, but the vast crime gap between police and the general populace is really undeniable.

Concealed carry permit holders are even more law-abiding than police. Between October 1, 1987 and June 30, 2015, Florida revoked 9,999 concealed handgun permits for misdemeanors or felonies.9 This is an annual revocation rate of 12.8 permits per 100,000. In 2013 (the last year for which data is available), 158 permit holders were convicted of a felony or misdemeanor – a conviction rate of 22.3 per 100,000.10 Combining the data for Florida and Texas data, we find that permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors and felonies at less than a sixth the rate for police officers.

Among police, firearms violations occur at a rate of 16.5 per 100,000 officers. Among permit holders in Florida and Texas, the rate is only 2.4 per 100,000.10 That is just 1/7th of the rate for police officers. But there's no need to focus on Texas and Florida — the data are similar in other states.

Joe Biden To Appear On "Law & Order: SVU"

Vice President Joe Biden will appear in the second episode of the upcoming season of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" to praise character Lieutenant Olivia Benson for her work to end the rape kit testing backlog. Biden will appear on the show as himself.

Show star Ice-T tweeted a picture of Biden on set and how the set was "locked down" by the Secret Service:

The episode will air on September 28 on NBC. Biden previously made a cameo on NBC's "Parks and Recreation."